Immigration

ICE Workplace Arrests In Texas Up Nearly 4,000 Percent In 2018

Authorities arrested just 13 people at work sites across Texas in 2017. That number rose to 519 people in 2018.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrest company employees on federal immigration violations at a trailer-manufacturing business in Sumner, Texas.

New data reveal a sharp increase in enforcement of immigration laws at workplaces across Texas, according to documents obtained by Houston Public Media.

Immigration arrests at work sites jumped nearly 4,000 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) documents show authorities arrested just 13 people at work sites across Texas in 2017. 

That number rose to 519 people the following year. A third of those arrests (163), were on criminal charges that could range from identity theft to human smuggling. The rest (356) were laborers arrested for working in the country without permission.

Houston Public Media received the 2017 data for Texas through a Freedom of Information Act request.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested more than 100 people at a work site in Sumner, Texas in August, 2018.

The Dallas ICE office led in arrests statewide in 2018, with El Paso, Houston and San Antonio trailing behind. The largest raid was in Northeast Texas where 160 people were rounded up.

Cracking down on illegal employment improves border security and reduces crime, according to an ICE press release on the nationwide increase in work site enforcement during fiscal year 2018.

“Reducing illegal employment helps build another layer of border security, and reduces the continuum of crime that illegal labor facilitates, from the human smuggling networks that facilitate illegal border crossings to the associated collateral crimes, like identity theft, document and benefit fraud and worker exploitation,” said Homeland Security Investigations Executive Associate Director Derek Benner.

Approximately a quarter of nationwide workplace arrests in 2018 happened in Texas, according to ICE data. 

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